Doctor Google

The internet has offered us ample opportunity for self-diagnosis, but how can we be sure that what we read reflects our concerns and needs? (Credit-Unsplash)

When I was fourteen years old, I remember begging my mum to take me to the GP and then, on arrival, fearfully requesting that she wait outside. Mum’s face contorted in surprise; we’re supposed to be an open door family. She gives me a look, which in English roughly translates to “Just you wait until we get home” but, in the end, acquiesces to my demand. Reluctantly but with far less remonstration than I had anticipated. I shoot mum one last furtive glance – she’s uncomfortable, clearly, but stationary. Feeling somewhat proud of myself for having successfully chiselled out a square inch of independence, I puff out my chest and step into Doctor T’s office, feeling manlier than manly.

The façade crumbles as soon as the door clicks shut and GP T asks what he can do for me? Suddenly I feel every inch the little boy again - perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad to bring mummy in. I’m embarrassed, you see. More embarrassed than I’ve ever been – but you have to be a big boy I tell myself. So, I pour out my heart to Doctor T and the more I do, the more I’m convinced that I should have brought mum with me. I’m looking at this man right, yet rather than indulging in my panic at this world-ending thing that I’m divulging to him, he seems to be doing his utmost to hold back a gale of giggles. Why is he smiling? I hardly slept a wink last night – I’m thinking to myself.

With mammoth effort my fifty-two-year-old infant of a doctor clears his throat and agrees to examine me. He can see that I’m sincere and my earnestness lends him a dose of seriousness. I recline and pull up my top, obligatorily squirming as he leans in to cop a feel. Doctor T fumbles around for a few moments, trying his best to act his age – but let’s be honest, the tell-tale smile is now a full-on grin. I’m a little uncomfortable at this point but lucid enough to still be angry. How dare you? This is proper serious stuff man! I definitely should have brought mum with me; she’d slap the mirth out of you, I think to myself.